The EU is finally ready to place sanctions on Iceland over its increasing catch of mackerel and herring that have led to concerns of over-fishing.
The move is significant in the ongoing ‘mackerel wars’ between the EU and Iceland, with the Icelandic government arguing that its level of catch is both sustainable and vital to the economy as well as the EU, which is aiming to ensure future fish stocks are protected.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki placed an end of July deadline to decide on whether sanctions would be placed on Iceland, and European Commission sources say they are now ready to press ahead with the measures. One official said that internally the procedure against the North Atlantic nation has been launched.
Among the implications of the sanctions on Iceland would be a ban on the country’s mackerel exports transiting or landing in EU ports and the potential ban of mackerel exports to the regional bloc.
The Commission intends to notify Iceland before placing the sanctions to give the country the opportunity to put forward its case before the bloc’s member nations vote on the matter.
Iceland has continued to claim that rising sea temperatures caused by global warming and other natural factors has led to mackerel and herring shoals migrating further north and, therefore, the quotas they are allocated should be changed to reflect this.